The Workers’ Party have said that the latest government proposal of compulsory work for dole is an admission by the government that it has failed utterly on reversing the unemployment crisis.
Workers’ Party President Michael Finnegan said that the proposal launched over the weekend by Minister Eamon Ó Cuiv was merely a way of massaging unemployment figures and forcing people into menial work for the meagre amount they receive in Jobseekers Allowance.
Mr. Finnegan said that the fact that the new scheme contained no education or training element tended to confirm the view of many unemployed people that this was a form of workfare rather than a serious effort to help people gain new skills or sharpen old ones.
“This move once again tries to blame the unemployed for the fact that there are no jobs out there. The vast majority of the 450,000 unemployed people in this country are on the dole queues because of the economic mismanagement of this country by the Fianna Fáil led government. Most of them would willingly take up jobs if they were available but they should not be forced into workfare in order to save the blushes of Minister Ó Cuiv”, said the Workers’ Party President.
Mr. Finnegan said that he was greatly concerned that these schemes might try to replace what had previously proper jobs with a ‘work for dole’ scheme. Local authorities in particular had shed thousands of part-time jobs and not replaced full-time staff who might otherwise be doing the type of work these schemes are targeting. “When it comes to jobs and employment government this government is all over the place and is failing utterly to tackle the unemployment crisis”, he said.
“I is not clear why we need another series of schemes. The same government which is introducing this workfare has over the last few years cut funds for Community Employment schemes. It makes no sense whatsoever to reinvent these schemes when they already exist. It can only be assumed that the new schemes will be far more coercive and will seek to treat unemployed people as malingerers and a burden on the state instead of productive workers who are denied the chance to reach their potential by a rotten system”, said Mr. Finnegan.
Issued 30th August 2010